“Minor and former Harrison County judges Wes Teel and John Whitfield must be resentenced because a federal appeals court vacated their bribery convictions in 2009. The appeals court upheld other convictions, including honest services fraud convictions against each of the men and Minor’s racketeering conviction. Now Wingate is considering motions to vacate the remaining convictions because higher courts have limited the scope of honest services fraud.”
The Sun Herald reports, “U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate delayed the resentencing Monday in Jackson so he can take more time to consider pending motions seeking to throw out all of the convictions in the case.
Judge Wingate gets it! I suspect a lot of others, including a lot of lawyers, don’t – or, more likely, don’t want the law applied in USA v Minor or USA v Scruggs. Minor’s attorney, David Debold of the Washington, D.C., law film Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher…said he knows it’s not easy for a judge to reverse a case this late but it’s the right thing to do in the wake of the high court decision limiting the honest services statute”.
Initially, Minor et al were also convicted of federal funds bribery under 18 U.S.C. § 666. Former Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Edward “Chip” Robertson cited the reversal of those convictions in a brief recently filed on behalf of Zach Scruggs:
…contrary to the Government’s naked assertion, the fact that Judge Lackey was not an agent for federal grant is properly before the Court because that means that Petitioner is “actually innocent” of the 18 U.S.C. § 666 crime alleged in the Indictment See Petition, D.E. 303 at 10-11 (discussing Whitfield v. U.S., 590 F.3d 325 (5th Cir., 2009)).
Both of these cases were very painful for members of the legal profession. However, the legal profession’s deafening silence in the face of the 5th Circuit and USSC decisions is painful to those up us who believe none are above – or below – the law. Equal justice is not a popularity contest!